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Mayor talks about council vacancy, ordinances and more

Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux stops by the WTIP studio for an interview after each meeting of the Grand Marais City Council. In this interview with Rhonda Silence, the mayor shares his thoughts on the city council vacancy, the Sawtooth Bluffs Master Plan, city ordinances, the budget and levy and more.

Regarding the city council vacancy, which occurred when Carl “Pete” Gresczyk decided not to accept the council seat to which he was elected, Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux said they want to hear from citizens who want to fill that vacancy.

Jonathan Steckelberg was appointed to fill the seat just until the special election could be held. He ran to be elected to the council seat, but was defeated by a slim margin of 24 votes. He could apply to be appointed to the council.

Craig Schulte, a candidate in the other city council race, has submitted his name for consideration. Schulte was just one vote behind Councilor Anton Moody who won re-election.

The mayor said citizens interested in being appointed to the council have until Friday, December 7 to contact city hall. The council will consider applicants and likely will make an appointment at the December 12 city council meeting.  For more information, call City Hall at 218-387-1848 or email An application for the council seat can be downloaded here. 

In other business, the council accepted the Sawtooth Bluffs Master Plan, contingent on an agreement between the city and county for management of the hillside property.

The council also denied a variance from David Berner for his property between Java Moose and the Harbor Inn. Berner requested a variance to construct a three-story building on the now-vacant lot with a height of 18 inches over the permitted 30 feet.

Councilor Anton Moody said he had heard from members of the public with concerns about loud vehicles. The council also discussed the city’s ordinance about parking recreational vehicles on the street and/or in front yards in the city. A letter has been sent out to property owners to let them know this is not allowed under the city ordinance.

However, council members noted that it was time for a thorough review of city ordinances, to determine what ordinances the city can—and cannot—enforce. Councilors also said it is time to consider if ordinances reflect the vision and values of the community.
City Administrator Mike Roth’s employee evaluation was also discussed. Councilor Kelly Swearingen brought some samples of other organization’s evaluations to consider. Roth said he hoped that the evaluation would focus on goals that the council would like to see the administrator meet.

Finally, the council decided to change the date of its last regular meeting in December, from December 26 to December 19. The meeting time will also change, the December 19 meeting will start at 5 p.m.

Another city meeting coming up is the Truth-in-Taxation meeting, to be held December 12 at Grand Marais City Hall at 6:30 p.m.
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talks to the mayor about the actions taken at the council meeting.